Poles are preparing to mark a key act of defiance against the country’s communist authorities 50 years ago. Several presidents of former Eastern Bloc states are expected in Poznan to commemorate the workers’ uprising there on June 28th 1956.
It gave inspiration to some of those who staged the revolt in Budapest just five months later, which in turn helped to create the climate for the anti-communist Prague Spring of 1968. Poznan’s deputy mayor said: “this city was the first to loudly say ‘no’ to the regime, and it did so on behalf of the whole nation.” Fed up with their working conditions and low salaries, employees of a car factory went on strike. Anger spilled onto the streets and a crowd of 100,000 people attacked the local police and prosecutor’s headquarters. A major crackdown ensued in which around a hundred people were killed.